There Has to Be a Catch….

Maybe you have figured it out already.  Maybe not.

Giving gifts is not my “fav” love language.  I scored a 1 on my love language profile, my lowest score.

I have thought all week about why I scored so low.

Consequently, chapter 4 has not been the easiest chapter for me to write about.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have great respect for people who can give and receive gifts.  I respect them a lot.  R.G. Letourneau was very interesting for me to read about.  I marvel at his giving attitude and a part of me wants to be like him.

But I’m not like him.

Just trying to be honest here.

I have an “attitude” about gifts and it is not good.

First of all, I am stingy.  Wow,  it hurts to admit that but I am using the “S” word on purpose. It is strong.  I have been this way for many years and I am not proud of it.  I sense it is slowly going away as I get older and I reflect on the meaning of the stuff we all hold dear.  I have seen death of close family members and I have seen the stuff they hold dear and what has happened to it.

Then it happened, maybe it happened to drive a point home.

This week I have lost something I really like.  I have a pair of Ray-Ban Sunglasses [prescription] and I have lost them.  For the past 4 days I have looked for them. They are not cheap.  On top of their expensiveness, I just like them.  I hate this but I have to be truthful.  I have grieved for them.  Right smack dab in the middle of writing about God’s gifts, I lose a material thing that upsets me.  Some thing that I want back.  Some thing that means something to me.

Stuff I hold dear.

Things don’t  happen by coincidence.

Secondly, like a lot of people, I have a thought in the back of my head that God’s gifts are not without a catch.  You can accept every gift God throws at you but are they given without condition?

Yes they are.

Faith, Forgiveness, Grace and Salvation and the list keeps on going [those are biggies though].

Free of charge.

Really?

Many people simply can’t believe that the Lord loves them. Others believe that He loves them, but only when they are pleasing Him in some way. Why is it so hard for us to accept His unconditional love?

I have a friend.  He has been coming to church for several years.  I have known him for about 35 years.  I know that he has some issues; don’t we all?  I mention him because he can’t make that last step to take communion and join the church.  Don’t get me wrong.  I sense that this guy has come a long way.  He just can’t make that last step.

Why?

Maybe I will never know.

I can only guess.

I wonder if he is wondering about “the catch.”  Godly love just can’t be free.  Maybe he’s thinking “Do I have to please God in order to get Him to love me?”  In our earthly world, we extend our love to others but to get it, they often have to meet our standards.  Does God have standards?  Do I stack up to God’s standards?  Am I worthy of his love?  I wonder how he feels about himself.  Does he have a self-image problem based on his sins of the past?  Maybe he is still sinning.  Guess what; we all are.  God does not expect us to be perfect in order to accept His love.  He just wants to give it to us.  He wants to love us.

One of the best examples of God’s love is the love fest from 1 John 4: 7-12.

Read those verses.  John the Apostle of Jesus has been called the Apostle of love.  He speaks of the love that God provides in such strong terms in those verses.  [I paraphrase]:  We must love one another because that mirrors the love we receive from God.  If we love we have been born of God and this love is evidence that we know God.  If you cannot love, that is evidence that you do not love God.  God sent his only Son into the world that we might live though Him.  This is God’s love in action.  The Son atoned for our sins.  This should inspire us to love one another and if we can do that, this is evidence that God is living in us.

Yes, writing about gifts has been hard for me this week.  I wish it wasn’t so hard.

It is.

It is getting better.

Those lost sunglasses are helping, believe it or not.

Also concern about the catch is going away.  Guess what’s causing that.  I am making the effort to talk to people that I have not loved in the past and the talk has been good.  Why did I not love them?  I guess they did not meet my standards.  Why should I love them?

God loves me; I know He does.

He has given me a book to write about; a chapter to discuss that is tough and a week to learn how much he cares about me.

I get it; I feel it; I need to pass it on…

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